The municipal pool at the town-owned South Shore Country Club in Hingham won’t open this summer — and a replacement pool won’t be ready until 2022 at the earliest.
The outdoor pool is more than 60 years old and has deteriorated to the point where it is beyond repair, town officials have said. It’s the only public pool in Hingham.
“Hingham is definitely going to miss having that seasonal pool,” said Mark Thorell, director of the town’s Recreation Department, which managed the daily operation of the facility. “It’s a conveniently located and affordable recreation option, and a great place where kids can socialize.”
Thorell said that 200 families and 40 individuals bought memberships to the pool last summer. Family memberships cost about $300, and individual ones less than $100.
In addition, about 130 children took swimming lessons there, 73 participated in a swim team, and about 300 kids visited the pool regularly as part of the town’s summer recreation camp, he said.
While the recreation department ran the summer pool activities, the South Shore Country Club Management Committee is responsible for planning for the future and managing the entire operation. It includes an 18-hole golf course, bowling alley, tennis courts, restaurant, and function hall. The town bought the 170-acre facility in 1988.
Officials had known for several years that the pool was failing, and, in 2017, Town Meeting approved money for a feasibility study of the best way to replace it. The study originally looked at an indoor and outdoor facility, which would have cost more than $10 million, with private fund-raising intended to cover a large part of the bill.
Fund-raising fell far below what was anticipated, however. And the project has been trimmed back to a $7 million outdoor pool that could be covered with a bubble, according to Christine Smith, who chairs the South Shore Country Club Management Committee.
The proposed project would include bathrooms and lockers and would be located at the current site of the club’s tennis courts, she said. The courts would be relocated, as would the club’s maintenance facilities, which are located below the existing pool.
Smith said her committee is asking the Spring Town Meeting to approve spending $500,000 in Community Preservation money for design costs. If that measure passes, the committee will ask Town Meeting in 2021 to approve the actual construction costs, she said.
She said the goal was to open a new town pool facility in 2022, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the South Shore Country Club.
But, she added, “Town Meeting will be the ultimate decision-maker as to whether or not the town will support the building of a new town pool.”
Johanna Seltz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.